Steel Building Directory

The Definitive Guide To Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings

Steel Buildings - Steel Building Project Overview

Steel buildings have come of age. They are now commonly used for anything from small storage buildings to giant sports arenas. No matter what you are building, most steel building projects follow the same basic process. The purpose of this guide is to give you an overview of your common steel building project.

Steel Buildings - Definitions

To begin, we will first give you many of the commonly used technical terms and their definitions. Understanding these terms and their meanings will help you to understand steel buildings and the construction process more clearly.

Construction Project

The construction project includes all of the materials that make up the steel building system and any work that needs to be completed. The steel building system, land preparation, foundation work, erection process, and finish work would all be considered parts of the construction project.

Contract Documents

Contract documents are agreements that outline the material and work that are to be performed. For a construction project, it is possible to have separate contract documents for the contractor, general contractor, and steel building dealer. The contract documents define the work to be completed, pricing information, a time schedule, and any other terms that are relevant to the agreement.

Contractor

The contractor is the party that has the responsibility for providing the materials and erection of the steel building system as specified by the contract documents.

Dealer

The dealer is the party that orders and purchases the steel building system from the supplier. The dealer resells the building to the end-user. The dealer is an independent contractor and not an agent for the supplier. The dealer may or may not provide erection or other services necessary to complete the construction project.

Designer

The designer is the party that is responsible for the design of the building. The designer is usually an architect or engineer that is hired to help in the preparation of design specifications for the construction project including the steel building system and its erection, and where appropriate, to assist in the supervising the construction process for compliance with the contract documents.

End User

The end user is the party that is the initial owner of the construction project. This party may occupy the building, lease, or resell the completed structure.

Erector

The erector is the party that is responsible for the erection of the Steel Building System. The dealer, contractor, general contractor or another party working under a subcontract may act as the erector.

General Contractor

The general contractor is the party that has the responsibility for providing all materials and work for the Construction Project (including the steel building system) as specified by the contract documents.

Steel Building Supplier

The steel building supplier is the party that designs and supplies the materials in the steel building system in accordance with the order documents as provided herein.

Steel Building System Purchase

The purchase of a steel building will vary depending on if you are an end user, contractor, or dealer. If you are the end user, chances are you will be purchasing your building through a dealer or contractor. If you are a dealer or contractor, you will likely be purchasing a building directly from a steel building supplier.

Generally, all materials that are included in the steel building system are in accordance with the supplier's usual details and standards unless otherwise specified on the order documents. In other words, the exact specifications of the system should be outlined in the order documents.

Steel Building System Components

The components included with the steel building system should be specified by the order documents between the supplier and the dealer. The following components are commonly included as part of the steel building system:

    1. The steel building system usually includes the complete framing system. The framing system is made up of the end and interior frames, columns, rafters, and flange bracing.

    2. Horizontal load bracing, purlins, girts, eave members, end wall columns, base angles, and any other structural framing that is necessary to support the roof and wall coverings of the steel building system.

    3. A complete hardware package that includes all nuts and bolts for the steel to steel connections of the structural framing of the steel building system. This would also usually contain all washers etc.

    4. Exterior metal roof and wall covering of the steel building system including trim, fasteners, sealants and closures.

The steel building system will generally include all of the above components. It is everything necessary for a completely enclosed, weather-tight steel structure. The steel building system does not usually include any doors, windows, skylights, vents, or any other components. These additional components are considered accessories and may be purchased through a dealer, supplier, or manufacturer directly.

The above are the components that are generally included in the steel building system. Any additional components are usually purchased separately and do not come standard from the supplier directly. Many dealers purchase additional components as necessary for completing the Construction Project.

Steel Buildings - Design

If you are the end-user, you will probably need to hire a design professional to help with the design of your steel building. This party is usually responsible for specifying the design requirements of the steel building system to be used to order the building from the supplier. The design requirements should include the design loads and any other specific requirements.

If the end-user does not hire a design professional, it will be the responsibility of the end-user to provide and specify the design criteria that will be used in the fabrication of the steel building system. The design criteria must include all design loads and any other specific requirements.

For most construction projects, the dealer has the responsibility of interpreting the end-user's design criteria. The dealer will use the end-user's design criteria to create the order documents that will be submitted to the steel building supplier.

The steel building supplier has the responsibility of fabricating the steel building system to meet the design criteria and design loads that are specified in the order documents. If the local codes and other requirements have not been specified in the order documents, the supplier is not responsible for meeting these requirements.

The steel building supplier is only responsible for the structural design of the steel building system. After the steel building is purchased, the supplier is not responsible for the design of any additional components, erection of the building, or the completion of the project. The supplier is only responsible for providing the steel building system as outlined in the order documents.

The supplier is responsible for making sure the steel building system complies with the specifications, design requirements, design loads, and other information that relates to the incorporation of the steel building system into the construction project as has been specified in the order documents.

Unless you are a design professional that has experience with steel building systems, you will probably want to retain the services of an experienced design professional. Having an experienced design professional involved in your project can help ensure that your steel building system is designed correctly. Some of the larger steel building suppliers offer design services in-house.

Steel Building Erection

The steel building supplier is not responsible for the erection of the building, the supply of tools or equipment, or any required field work. The supplier does not oversee the erection process or perform any inspections of the steel building system before or after erection.

If you are the end-user, it will be your responsibility to hire a qualified erector. If you working with a dealer, the dealer may or may not provide erection services. Some steel building dealers may provide assistance in locating a qualified erector.

Steel Building Erectors

Steel building erectors generally have standard procedures they follow to erect a steel building system. These standard procedures will usually be followed unless stated otherwise on the contract documents.

The contract documents may specify details about the erection of the steel building system. If there is information about the erection included in the contract documents, only the work that is described in the contract documents will be performed as part of the erection.

Included in the Erection

The erector is responsible for:

Labor Tools and Equipment - The erector will be responsible for all labor tools and equipment necessary to unload and erect the steel building system safely and properly.

Insulation and Insulation Accessories - The erector is usually responsible for any insulation and insulation accessories to be assembled in conjunction with the exterior wall and roof of the steel building system.

Compressed Air and Electric Power - The erector will be responsible for compressed air and electric power required for steel building system erection.

Removal of Temporary Buildings or Trash - Often, an erector will use temporary buildings during the erection process. The erector is responsible for removing any temporary buildings or trash resulting from the erection work.

Temporary Guys and Bracing - Erectors usually need temporary guys and bracing for squaring, plumbing, and securing the structural framing against loads. It is the erectors responsibility to acquire the manpower and bracing necessary to complete this function.

Although the erection process may vary somewhat depending on the individual erector. All of the above are usually considered the responsibility of the erector.

Completing the Site Survey

If you are the end-user, it will be your responsibility to provide a current survey of the building site that has been certified by a registered surveyor. This site survey needs to be completed before the erection of the steel building system takes place. You must also stake out any property lines that need to be identified by the erector.

Concrete Slab, Foundation and Anchor Bolt Setting

As an end-user, you will be responsible for the foundation and any additional costs incurred from errors in the concrete slab and foundation or in the setting of the anchor bolts. The erector is responsible for inspecting the foundation to verify that the dimensions and anchor bolt locations are correct before beginning the erection of the steel building system.

Job Site Accessibility

Before your steel building system is erected, it will be your responsibility, as the end-user, to be sure that the job site is prepared, clean, and easily accessible to trucks for the delivery of materials and erection equipment. It is expected that the site will be ready for the erectors to complete their work without having to face any challenges caused by lack of proper preparation.

Delays and Overtime Wages

When an erector bids on the erection of a steel building system, the contract consideration is figured on the basis of the usual forty-hour work week and that all of the necessary site preparations have been completed. If any delays or interruptions are caused because of lack of proper preparation, you will be responsible for paying any additional costs incurred by the erector.

It is a good idea to consider your responsibilities before hiring an erector. Make sure that your land is well prepared and that you understand your responsibilities. You may want to write down a checklist of your responsibilities and check each one off as they are completed. This will help to ensure a smooth and successful erection of your steel building system.

It's important to have a good understanding of your project before you begin. Hopefully this overview of the steel building project has been helpful. Be sure to check out the "Glossary" page if you have terms you don't understand.